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Food allergy discrimination goes to Indiana Supreme Court

All people deserve the right to work, study and live their lives without discrimination. However, incidents of discrimination are not uncommon in the United States, and many people experience difficulties in Indiana each year. Disability discrimination can occur in many different forms, ranging from employment opportunities to inadequate access to a building.

In Indiana, a discrimination case involving food allergies has recently become the subject of a state Supreme Court case. The case revolves around a former home-schooling group called Fishers Adolescent Catholic Enrichment Society. The mother of a 15-year-old girl in the FACES group requested that the girl be provided with a steak dinner at its masquerade ball. The girl is allergic to chicken, which was the food provided that evening.

The group did not provide reasonable accommodations per the request but instead suggested the girl bring her own meal. When the mother went to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission to file an official complaint citing disability discrimination, her family was expelled from the FACES group.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the group practiced discrimination against the family by expelling them. However, the case has been picked up by the Indiana Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the group’s challenge to the ruling made by the Court of Appeals. This incident provides a unique example of how complex a discrimination case can be and the difficulty in assigning wrongdoing.

Although the FACES case involves a private group, similar cases are taken up around the country each year for workplace violations and other circumstances. Federal laws prevent discrimination toward a person for any type of disability. People who experience such difficulties should be familiar with their options and the actions that are available in order to resolve the situation properly.

Source: The Indianapolis Star, “Indiana Supreme Court takes up discrimination case,” Tim Evans, Feb. 3, 2014

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